I hadn’t baked without eggs before so was slightly unsure what I was initially aiming for. The first few batches I tried all seemed a bit stodgy, and almost brownie like.
I then tried a recipe that relied on a lot of golden syrup, which led to an amazing taste, but it didn't rise. I tried changing my baking powder, whisking my sugar and butter/milk (depending on the recipe) for an extra few minutes before adding any flour. I went out to get an oven thermometer and checked that my oven was running correctly (for the record it was out, so that was well worth checking...) and I tried baking on different levels in the oven.
On my 9th(!) attempt I used a recipe that was recommended to me when I was at the point of despair, and it seemed I finally had the result I needed. After beating the batter it was silky, smooth and super shiny.
I drew up various designs for the decoration, each incorporating various approaches. These included fondant marbling techniques, making 3D figures or using other various props; but I decided to keep it as simple as possible. I wanted it to be suitable for a 2 year old, and to keep the images clear so that she could recognize them.
I started with the caterpillar, and my aim was to have him as the focus on top of the cake and then add the items he ate around the side (complete with nibble hole).
I have been using the Clikstix cutters for my fondant letters and am currently debating whether to continue with these for other lettering designs or try another brand (any recommendations welcome!).
I then decided that rather than having a traditional '2' cut out of icing, I would create one using dots to represent the holes in each of the items the caterpillar had eaten through. I took the colours from the caterpillar for the lettering and the number 2, and I think it tied together quite nicely... Do let me know what you think :)
One thing I am sure of, that this was my favourite birthday cake to deliver to date. Only 365 days until I can deliver her next one!